John and Abigail Adams to William Stephens Smith
Three Cup’s Harwich August. 5. 1786. Saturday
After a very pleasant Journey, here We are. We came very leisurely, dined the first day at Ingatestone and Slept at Witham, dined Yesterday at Mistley (Mr Rigbys Seat very near) and Slept where We now are, in full View of the Land Guard Fortification, with a fair Sun and fine Breeze. Our Carriage is on Board. As Fortune will have it, Hearn is the Captain. It is my third Passage with him. The two first were tedious,1 this I hope will be otherwise. The Agent for the Packetts called upon Us last night, in Consequence of Mr Frasers Letter.2 Ld Walthams Seat,3 and Mr Rigbys, We wished to ramble in. Rigbys looks at a fine Cove of Salt Water. As this Farm has been watered and manured with the Effluvia of an hundred Millions of Money, being the Nerves of the American War, it might have been more magnificent. It is a fine Seat.4 My Love to my dear Mrs Smith. Mamma sends her Love to you both.
We passed a pretty Seat, of the Family of Hoar, perhaps the Same with that of President Hoar, once of Harvard Colledge.5
At the Sign of the 3 cups, a tolerable House where a better is not to be had, with a fine view of the water from 3 windows, and a memento mori from the fourth, viz a burying Ground and church with in half a rod of us. We are now Setting at the Breakfast table. Pappa having told you where we stopd dined Slept &c has left nothing for me to say excepting that he twic mounted Johns Horse and rode 7 miles twice, which you See by computation makes 14 ms. In concequence of a Letter from the Secretary of states office the captain is obliged to give us the great cabin to ourselves for which we must make him a compliment of 10 Guineys and 7 for the Carriage. We concluded as there were 10 other passengers one being a Lady, that if any of them were very sick we could not (doing as we would be done by), refuse them admittance. So it was as well not to retain it, as the captain promisd me a small room by myself. The Country from London to Harwich is very delightfull, we were not much incomoded with dust. We found a card at woods, from mr Hollis requesting us to call on him and take a dinner or Bed &c. We reachd woods about 2 oclock orderd our dinner and walkd to the Hide. Mr Hollis received us with great Hospitality, and miss Brands countanance shone. She treated us with some cake, we Sat an hour took our leave and dined at Woods. Esther sighd this morning as she was dressing me and said, how strange it seems not to have Mrs Smith with us. I had felt it strange through the whole journey—one must be weaned by degrees. I hope you are very happy, you cannot be otherways whilst you continue to have the disposition to be so. Look in if you please once a week at our House, and let me know that it continues to Stand in Grosvenour Square adieu. Your affectionately
RC (MHi: De Windt Collection); addressed by JA: “To William S Smith Esqr Charge des Affaires of the United States of America Wimpole Street No. 16. London”; endorsed: “Harwich August 5th. 1786 Jno. Adams Ansd. 8th.”; stamped: “7 AU” and “[H]arwich.”
1. JA and JQA sailed from Harwich to Hellevoetsluis in Jan. 1784. In August of the same year JA made the opposite voyage, alone, to join AA, AA2, and JQA, who had preceded him, in London (JA, D&A description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:152, 170).
2. William Fraser (Frazier) was undersecretary of state for foreign affairs in Lord Carmarthen’s office (Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, N.J., 1950– . description ends , 8:302). The letter has not been identified.
3. New Hall, the seat of Drigue Billers Olmius (1746–1787), 2d baron Waltham in the Irish peerage, was located in Boreham, Essex (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons description begins Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., The House of Commons, 1754–1790, London, 1964; 3 vols. description ends , 3:225).
4. Mistley Hall, on the River Stour, was owned by Richard Rigby (1722–1788). As paymaster general of the forces, 1768–1782, Rigby controlled vast sums of public funds. The office was reformed in 1782 and Rigby accused of personally profiting from the monies under his control. Although he agreed to repay the outstanding balances, the public was still owed £156,000 three years after his death (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons description begins Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., The House of Commons, 1754–1790, London, 1964; 3 vols. description ends , 3:354–360).
5. To this point, the letter is written by JA. The remainder is written by AA. Rev. Leonard Hoar (ca. 1630–1675), third president of Harvard College (1672–1675), was born in Gloucestershire, England. He came to Massachusetts as a child with his family, graduated at Harvard in 1650, returned to England in 1653, and preached at Wanstead, Essex, until 1662. In 1672, he accepted an invitation to preach at the Old South Church and returned to Boston. Soon thereafter he was named president of Harvard (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts [title varies], Cambridge and Boston, 1873– . description ends , 1:228–252; DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, repr. ed., London, 1959–1960; 22 vols. plus supplements. description ends ).